5 Worrying SEO Mistakes That Many New Store Owners Make
by Jason / Posted
For the “Too Long Don’t Read!” crowd
- All your pages should have content unless there is a good reason not to
- Create meta titles that target keywords AND reveal your unique selling point
- Update your blog regularly and make every blog post top quality
- Create a navigation structure that can help visitors get to where they want to quickly
- Promote the brand through as many different techniques as possible
Creating product pages with no content
It’s quite common to meet clients who have an initial idea that they want their store designed minimally. While this in itself is not a problem this same client is also the most likely to get back in touch with the team months down the line because they’re not ranking in Google for the keywords they wanted. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of content on their store pages. Google’s Panda Algorithm which is in full force has the ability to judge a store by the content on each page, if there’s no content to judge what do you think these major search engines will do? Judge your store even more! And that’s because search engines despise thin content. For optimal Shopify SEO make sure your product descriptions are packed out.
If there’s no content on the page how can search engines, and users, completely understand what the page is about? As of 2015 search engines don’t have the capability to read what your images are and must rely on descriptive text applied to it, which only paints half the picture. Although this is good practice it doesn’t produce half as much information as if a store was to add some helpful, descriptive and captivating content to the page. A good rule of thumb is to add at least 200 words to your product descriptions.
Product descriptions focus:
- Unique content that is not boiler plate and doesn’t rely on the manufacturer’s description
You want to stand out from the crowd not be part of it. By writing unique product descriptions you increase your chances of ranking better in search.
- Explain the benefits
So many store owners forget to sell the benefits to a potential customer. Don’t be one of them.
- Include all exclusive features
An exclusive feature missed is a potential sale missed. A potential customer loves to know why your product is better than all the rest.
- Mention clear shipping costs and returns policy
As much as this is a trust factor it also helps increase conversions. Every product should have these clear and easily viewable, or at least clickable to a dedicated page.
- Make product images clear and easy to browse
One of the great things about Shopify is that their themes and apps provide a whole host of solutions for presenting products just how you want them. Whether its rotation, zoom or a certain file type or quality it’s all possible.
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Using only high volume, competitive keywords in a title
There are many different ways of optimising a meta-title but only writing a very broad highly competitive keyword in there is not one of them, nor is just relying on the brand name of the store. As a new store it’s imperative to research keywords if you want to find the best opportunities for organic growth.
There are a few great keyword research tools out there:
- Google Keyword Planner
- SEMRush (Paid)
- Moz Pro (Paid)
At Shopify Builder, The marketing team use all of these but if you’re on a tight budget using Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest can reveal some hidden keyword gems. When editing your title tag we recommend laying it out with your main keyword at the beginning followed by either a secondary keyword or what’s becoming more prominent these days a unique selling point whether that’s your location, price or duration, for example:
Designer Leather Handbags – 30% off until Jan – Handbag World
Black Leather Clarks Shoes – Size 6 – 10 – Barry’s Shoe Store
Ladies Fragrances – Free UK Shipping Orders Over £20 – The Fragrance Store
By doing this you increase the chance of higher Click-Through-Rates (CTR) from the search engines while also targeting your main keyword. Make sure ALL your pages on your store have unique, well optimised meta titles or that Google Panda algorithm may come a’ mauling.
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Not updating the blog
The blog is one of the most important parts of your store if you want to attract new customers. Think of each blog post as a new door to your store whereby each blog post can be written with keywords in mind. A staggering 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog according to BlogHer. We come across many stores, not just on Shopify, that have a dormant blog that requires some tender loving care.
A few quick tips:
- Do keyword research and plan articles around them
The tools mentioned above are great platforms for finding keywords to target. When writing a blog post by all means include the keywords but don’t stuff them. A good rule of thumb is if it looks unnatural it is unnatural and could be penalised by search engines.
- Do research your topic and try to cite as many reputable sources as possible
Write your blog posts how a scholar would write their essays and dissertations, with plenty of verifiable sources to back up any facts you state. A well-researched article looks a lot more trustworthy than one written for the sole aim of hitting a particular keyword.
- Keep the quality high but also the word count
Quality over quantity but they both work in tandem. Research from Medium.com reveals that the ideal blog post length is 1,600 words holding a reader’s attention for 7 minutes.
- Make your writing easy to digest with plenty of lists, graphs, charts and stats
It goes without saying but a very long piece of writing without any other types of styling or media to break it up can be difficult to digest for many people. Break your writing down into easy to digestible pieces.
- Write what you’re passionate about
Usually a passion for your products and industry will help you get the best out of your content. If you don’t have the time (or passion) find someone who does.
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Designing a store with confusing navigation
We’ve all been there. An online store that promises the world, drives you into a frenzy to whip out your credit card and spend a healthy portion of your pocket change. Only to then find out that product you just can’t wait to own is non-existent and all you’re left with is the cold shoulder a 404 page. Fix all your broken pages as soon as possible.
Don’t be one of those stores. Instead plan ahead:
- Create a top navigation menu that lists all of your category pages
- Provide simple navigation back to any previous page with breadcrumbs
- Create a HTML sitemap that is linked from the footer
- Make the process of buying your product as short as possible
- Offer similar items for visitors to buy under product pages
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Not getting the word out about your brand
What’s a brand without some aggressive self-promotion? Not much. It’s fine to sit on a proud pedestal and say “My brand is strong I don’t need to do any marketing” but as strong as the brand may be in future it still needs promotion now.
Some great ways to promote your brand in 2015:
- Get your newsletter out there
Design a fantastic newsletter that entices people to visit your store. Promote yourself but also provide helpful content within the newsletter.
- Create quality unique business citations within your locality
You’re more likely to get conversions from those close to your location due the trust involved so creating quality business citations based on city and country can really help.
- Engage with influential people on social media
Although Facebook reach is down across the board for many stores and Twitter is slowly following suit now is the time to diversify your social media presence. If you sell products you are quite possibly a highly visual company that could do with social media such as Instagram or Pinterest.
- Think off site and join events or even host one
Meeting people in real life can help form powerful relationships that last and hosting your own event or seminar could be the perfect opportunity to meet potential buyers or help others who want advice on their own store.
- Or stay online and host your own webinar
Creating a webinar such as on Google+ is a time and cost efficient way of promoting your brand while also providing something to those who join. Maybe you could provide tips and advice or a Q & A session on how to get the best out of your products. This may even be a perfect opportunity to network with related companies who can also promote their products and gain a referral for each customer who buys from them.